Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA)

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The information on First 31 is general in nature and may not apply to every situation, e.g. information may be different for Italian or European Union (EU) Nationals.

U.S. military members, government civilian employees, contractors, and their dependents in Italy live here pursuant to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). U.S. military members on orders do not need a passport or a visa to enter and remain in Italy. However, U.S. Government civilian employees and all dependents who are not EU citizens are required to have a Missione Visa and Soggiorno Permit. The Italian government gives these documents to those individuals who are here solely for the purpose of the U.S. military mission and, therefore, have “SOFA protected” status.

With a Missione Visa and Missione Soggiorno Permit, you are eligible for employment on base with the U.S. Forces. To be employed in Italy by someone other than the U.S. Forces (U.S. Forces would include GS, NAF, and U.S. Government contracted positions) may require additional authorizations and could result in adjustments to your ‘SOFA protected” status, which would likely impact your SOFA privileges, which include access to the BX, access to the commissary, access to the military postal system, use of SETAF registered vehicles, provision of rations, and availability of legal assistance under foreign criminal jurisdiction, among other benefits. Furthermore, one switching from a Missione Visa to an Italian Work Visa would have to return to the U.S. (or their country of nationality) to apply for an Italian Work Visa. In addition to the possibility of losing “SOFA protected” status, an individual may be required to comply with a number of Italian laws and regulations.

In general, military members, government civilian employees, contractors, and dependents are prohibited from holding off-base employment or conducting off-base commercial enterprises without an Italian Work Visa. If you have questions regarding telework, “de minimis” work, or working as a civilian in Italy, generally, please contact the Legal Assistance Office.


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31 FSS

31st Force Support Squadron
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